"The home buying process should be 100% digital and data driven. But it's currently less than 1% digital."
- Maria Harris, chair of OPDA
The government has launched new pilot projects to explore digital solutions to improving the home buying and selling process.
The government is developing a package of reforms to the home buying and selling process in England, with a focus on improving the availability of essential property information and driving digitalisation of the sector. The pilot projects will explore innovative, digital solutions to improve the home buying and selling process, transforming a largely paper-based process into a streamlined, digital one.
With £3m of funding for delivery, the projects are:
• Proptech Innovation Fund pilots, enabling a number of proptech firms to scale up products that have the potential to improve the home buying and selling process.
• Open Data Pilots across a small number of local authorities to pilot approaches to digitalising local authority-held data relevant to residential property.
• Data standards project: Independent research on data standards to kick-start the government's plans to bring forward a set of standards for the sector.
The Open Property Data Association (OPDA) has welcomed the announcement. OPDA engages with different Government departments to highlight the need for open standards, prioritise the digitisation of property data, and to drive the adoption of digital innovation across the industry.
It was set up earlier this year, with companies across the homebuying and mortgage industry, to make accessing and sharing property data simpler and quicker, and has since delivered a property data trust framework.
OPDA research on which property data sources have the biggest impact on improving transactions looks set to inform the pilot projects.
Maria Harris, chair of OPDA, commented: “Open data standards are essential for making informed decisions about property. The home buying process should be 100% digital and data driven. But it's currently less than 1% digital.
“We are very pleased that government is committing funding and resource to improve the home buying process and taking an active role in how we achieve the digital and data standards we need.
“Better information for consumers before making an offer will reduce the number of failed transactions throughout the system.”